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It is important that COP26 is inclusive and includes representatives from the global south, whose countries are among those that are least responsible for the global climate emergency but are being affected first and most severely by it. The Scottish Government will seek to develop a programme of opportunities whereby all voices can be heard in a respectful and collaborative way. We will also encourage the United Kingdom Government to ensure that the process of securing visas is as easy as possible and that delegates from around the world are able to attend COP26.
I am sure that we all welcome the First Minister’s tweet yesterday in which she made clear her intention to make COP26 a success. Nonetheless, does the cabinet secretary agree that Boris Johnson’s reported hostility to the role of the Scottish Government in co-hosting this global event is counterproductive, particularly when tackling climate change requires the collaboration of all communities, whether it be Scotland or vulnerable peoples in areas such as the Pacific islands?
The world is facing a climate emergency and we must now move to a net zero future in a way that is fair and just. COP26 can set us on that course, but it has to be a shared endeavour and we are determined that political differences will not play any part in it. The Scottish Government has continually demonstrated our commitment to delivering a successful COP26 in partnership and collaboration with the UK Government, Glasgow City Council, Police Scotland and others, and the First Minister wrote to the Prime Minister yesterday to reiterate that commitment.
I am heartened by the cabinet secretary’s response to Bill Kidd’s question. Does she agree that, as the UK moves rapidly towards hosting COP26, the Prime Minister would do well to take a lesson from the effective way in which the Scottish Government and Parliament developed the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019 across parties and beyond? If we cannot co-operate across the UK as hosts, what hope is there for the global south?
COP26 in Glasgow has the potential to be a very significant moment in our global efforts to tackle the climate crisis. I assure people that, globally, folk are looking forward very much to the event. It is really important that it does not end up being about political differences, because on climate change there is a huge degree of cross-party collaboration, not just here. In fairness, the UK Government is also prepared to commit to a net zero target date; many countries are not. We should be in the business of celebrating the progress that we are making, not getting ourselves into a wrangle that will do the opposite.